Before you make the investment in buying grow bags, you might want to know how long they last. I was wondering the same thing, so I did some research to find out.
So, how long do grow bags last? Grow bags will last anywhere from 1 to 10 years or more. The lifespan of a grow bag depends on the quality of the material used to make it. A grow bag will last longer if it is cleaned, moved, and stored properly.
If you don’t want to reuse grow bags, you may not want them to last a long time. Let’s look more closely at how long various grow bags will last. Then we’ll get into how to care for grow bags to make them last longer.
How Long Do Grow Bags Last?
Grow bags can last anywhere from 1 to 10 years, largely depending on the material they are made from.
If you make your own grow bags out of cardboard, they will not last longer than a year. These grow bags would be best for planting annual crops or plants that will not be moved after planting them in the ground.
On the other hand, grow bags made of recycled plastic or fabric materials can last for 5 years or more with proper care.
They can be cleaned and reused each year for planting annuals, or they can hold longer-lived perennials (or even young trees) until you transplant them to a more permanent location.
Remember that biodegradable materials are safer for the environment, but they won’t last as long, due to natural wear and tear (they are made to decompose over time, after all).
Let’s look into some of the specific types of grow bags that are available and how they stack up.
Plastic Grow Bags
Plastic grow bags are not as breathable as fabric grow bags, but they are better if you want your soil to retain more moisture. This is ideal for plants that prefer not to dry out.
Plastic bags will hold up better under environmental conditions, but they are easier to tear open than fabric bags.
Here are some of the plastic grow bags you can choose from:
- Vivosun Plastic Grow Bags – these grow bags are made from plastic. White on one side and black on the other, they have holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. You can buy them in a set of 50, in sizes of 1, 2, 3, or 5 gallons. You can also buy a set of 100, in sizes of 2 gallons or 5 gallons. For more information, check out Vivosun Plastic Grow Bags on the Vivosun website.
- Gro Pro Plastic Grow Bags – these grow bags are made from black plastic. They have holes in the bottom to allow for drainage. You can buy them in a set of 25 1-gallon bags. For more information, check out Gro Pro Plastic Grow Bags on Amazon.
Fabric Grow Bags
Fabric grow bags are made from thick, non-woven fabric that is more breathable than clay or plastic. This allows better aeration and drainage, and prevents plants from becoming root bound in the grow bag.
Here are some of the fabric grow bags you can choose from:
- Vivosun Tan Grow Bags – these circular grow bags are made from a 350G material. They are durable and come with handle straps to make moving easier. You can buy them in a set of 5, in sizes of 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, or 30 gallons. For more information, check out Vivosun Tan Grow Bags on the Vivosun website.
- Vivosun Black Grow Bags – these circular grow bags are made from a 300G material. They are durable and come with handle straps to make moving easier. They come with a 3-year warranty. You can buy them in a set of 5, in sizes of 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 gallons. You can also buy single 45, 50, or 100 gallon bags. For more information, check out Vivosun Black Grow Bags on the Vivosun website.
- Vivosun Square Grow Bags – these square grow bags are made from a 260G material. They are durable and come with handle straps to make moving easier. They also have loop straps on the side, just in case you want to put stakes nearby to support tomatoes or other tall plants. You can buy them in sizes of 3, 5, 7, or 10 gallons. For more information, check out Vivosun Square Grow Bags on the Vivosun website.
- Smart Pot Soft-Sided Container – these circular grow bags are made from black fabric that is soft but sturdy. Many gardeners report that they hold up well for 5 years or longer. They were developed for commercial tree growers, but can also be used for small-scale gardening. They come in 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 15 gallon sizes, along with larger sizes. You can buy individual pots or 5-packs. For more information, check out the Smart Pot Soft-Sided Container on Amazon.
- Hydrofarm 3 Gallon Fabric Planter – these circular grow bags are made from 100% recycled plastic. They are non-degradable, so they will hold up for longer than other grow bags. Just remember that these do not come with handles, so you may want to put them on a dolly with wheels to move them more easily before you fill them with soil and plants. These pots are washable so that you can clean them out between seasons. For more information, check out the Hydrofarm Fabric Planter on the Ace Hardware website.
Grow Bag Care
We already know that the material and quality of construction will determine how long a grow bag will last. However, if you care for your grow bags properly, they will last much longer and give you better results, saving you time and money.
Moving Grow Bags
When moving your grow bags, avoid dragging them across rough and rocky surfaces, such as textured concrete or bare soil with rocks in it.
The bottom of the grow bag is the biggest concern, since it holds the most weight and gets scraped when you are moving the bag across rough surfaces.
To protect the bottom of the grow bag during moving, put a flat piece of plastic or wood underneath it.
If you can’t find anything that will slide easily across the ground, then put the grow bag on a small dolly with wheels. This will make it easier to move, and it will make it easier on your back!
Cleaning Grow Bags
When you clean off your grow bags between seasons, you will remove any chemicals and salts left behind from fertilizer, manure, or other soil additives you used to grow your plants.
Not only will this help to prevent the bag from degrading, but it will also keep next year’s soil healthier for your plants.
To clean off your grow bags, first wash them down with a hose. Don’t worry about getting them completely clean – just spray and rinse away the largest pieces of dirt and plant matter (roots, leaves, etc.)
Next, let the grow bags dry out, and then remove any dried bits of soil or plant matter.
Then, put the grow bags in a washing machine (don’t overload it!). Use baking soda and white vinegar as a detergent.
Finally, wash the grow bags in cold water on the heavy soil setting. (You might want to wash more than once.)
After your grow bags are washed, let them air-dry for as long as necessary before putting them away. Otherwise, your grow bags can grow mold if stored when still damp.
For more information, check out this article from grassrootsfabricpots.com about how to clean fabric grow bags.
Storing Grow Bags
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your grow bags are clean and dry before storing them. Otherwise, you can end up with mold growing on them.
Keep the grow bags in a cool, dry place to prevent them from absorbing moisture. Also, keep them out of sunlight, since the sun’s rays can break them down faster.
As long as they are clean and dry, you can fold up your grow bags or put them in a container to save space during the off-season.
Repairing Grow Bags
You can extend the life of your grow bags even further if you are willing to make some minor repairs once in a while.
Your grow bags are most likely to get holes on the bottom, especially if you drag them over rough, rocky surfaces to move them around.
No matter where the holes appear, you can patch them easily. All you need is a sewing needle and some durable thread, along with some material for a patch.
For the patch itself, you can buy material similar to what the grow bag is made from. You can also cut pieces from your most beat-up grow bag to repair your other ones.
Once you have a patch (it should be slightly larger than the hole itself), sew it in place over the hole. If you are using thinner material (such as landscape fabric), you can double or triple-layer the patch to make it last longer.
Keep any spare material around for future use in later years. By keeping ahead of any holes, you can conceivably keep your grow bags for a decade or longer (a stitch in time saves nine!)
Now you have a much better idea of how long grow bags last. You also know some of the factors that affect the lifespan of grow bags, and how to care for your grow bags to get the most mileage out of them.
You might also want to check out my article on what to plant in a grow bag to get some ideas.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone who can use the information.